At any stage of your career, whether you are just starting your first job or you are already a manager at your company, strong negotiation skills are important. The ability to negotiate will serve you well both professionally and personally. Not only can it help you land bigger deals and maybe even get that promotion you have been hoping for, but it can also help you in your relationships with others in your everyday life. Simply put, negotiation is a skill that is useful in every facet of your life. This begs the question, “How good are you at negotiating?” For many people, negotiation can be a daunting task and their fear may cause them to miss the mark. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your negotiation skills so you can be prepared to seal the deal next time around. Consider the following tips for turning your negotiations from drab to fab!
1. Do Your Homework
You may have prepared the perfect pitch but if you don’t know anything about the person or company you are pitching to, it could end up being a failure. You must research your topic as well as the person or company you are negotiating with in order to create a discussion that is specifically tailored to their needs. The more knowledge you have about who you are speaking with, the more credible you will be.
2. Make Sure You Are Negotiating with the Right Person
Nothing kills a deal faster than the words, “Let me talk with my boss about this.” If you aren’t talking with the decision-maker, you are wasting your time. There’s no point in debating something that your counterpart has no power over. Make sure you are dealing with the right person from the start.
3. Be Likable
Try to enter into any negotiation with a friendly demeanor and a genuine smile. The more likable you are, the more flexible your counterpart will be. People want to work with people they get along with so make it a point to find a connection with your counterpart whether it’s a favorite sports team, a hobby you have in common, or a family connection.
4. Be a Good Listener
Sure, you might have a great presentation prepared but don’t forget that listening is extremely important. In fact, you should do less talking and more listening. Ask open-ended questions and learn as much as you can about what is most important to your counterpart.
5. Try to See Things from Their Perspective
A great negotiator seeks mutually beneficial solutions so try to understand where the other person is coming from and ask them about their needs and concerns. This will show that you have a genuine interest in their needs as well and you aren’t just looking out for yourself.
6. Determine the Best Timing
Let’s be honest, no one wants to spend time negotiating on a Friday afternoon. Likewise, you might not get too far right before lunch when everyone is hungry. Select a time that is most conducive for all parties.
7. Be Prepared
You don’t want to bore your counterpart with too many “um’s” and very little eye contact. Rather, make sure you are well prepared ahead of time. Be sure to practice what you will say as well as how you will conduct yourself so you appear confident.
8. Be Prepared to Make Concessions
Negotiations should never have a “winner takes all” outcome. Rather, it’s about give and take. Prepare some concessions ahead of time and know what you are willing to give up in order to close the deal. Likewise, never give something up without getting something in return.
9. Remain Calm and Avoid Getting Emotional
It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you during a difficult negotiation but try to remain calm and composed at all times. The more emotional you become, the more clouded your thinking will be and the harder it will be to reach a solution with your counterpart.
10. Find a Creative Alternative
Adopt a win/win attitude rather than win/lose. It can be to your advantage to work together with the other person to determine a creative solution that will meet the needs of both parties.